Hamlet: To Soliloquy. Definitely To Soliloquy

Never was a story of more woe than this.
Romeo & Juliet Act 5. Scene.3.

Grief fills the room up of my absent child,
Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me,
Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words,
Remembers me of all his gracious parts,
Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form.
(King John Act 3. Scene 4.)

Act 1. Scene 2. Hamlet is the guy in the room who could use some therapy. Freud would have had a field day with him. Everybody else in the room is singing, “Happy days are here again.” They’re all thinking Hamlet is messed up. All that sitting in the corner and brooding. None of the courtiers had seen its like. Ever. You’d think there was a ghost running around the castle, moaning and groaning.

“Cheer up,” the king says.

“Cheer up,” his mom, the queen, says.

“Cheer up,” all the courtiers say.

Even Hamlet’s inner voice (you one that keeps going, “To be or not to be”) says, “Cheer up.”

Still Hamlet broods and broods, and he broods some more.

Hamlet is depressed. You’d be depressed too. With good reason. Your daddy dies, then  Momsy goes off and marries his brother. Now Hamlet can’t be king. Momsy really fixed that.

On top of everything else, the only girl in Castle Elsinore is Ophelia, and he is not allowed to date her. And definitely no making out in the back of his BMW. I mean, c’mon. Ham is a young frisky guy, with all his testosterone hanging out.

Why did Hamlet have to go and promise Mom and the king he would stay in town? He’d rather be off to Paris and the ooh-la-las with Laertes. How did he get himself into this mess? Oh, yeah. He could never resist his mother’s pretty-please look.

Laertes gets to skip town. What makes him so special? Why not Ham? He mimics Claudius. “Your mother has missed you a lots. Besides I want to teach you the king business.”

One thing is for sure. Ham is not the one in the white hat business. He’s not the one shaking hands and kissing babies. That guy is Claudius. He’s the guy what wants to be liked. All that paparazzi snapping his mug every which-a-way. Let Claudius have his throne. Hamlet doesn’t care. There’s no way he could stand all that attention.

Hamlet steps up to the mic. This is his big chance to get in good with the audience. He had better not blow it.

“I hate Denmark,” Hamlet speaks into the mic. “Why? For one thing it gets friggin’ cold here. I don’t mean the normal winter chill. I mean to-your-bones cold. I can never get warm.”

Bad Hamlet appears on his right shoulder. “Why don’t you go ahead and off yourself.”

“Who the devil are you?” Hamlet wants to know.

“I’m the guy who wants you to have a happily ever after,” Baddie says.

Hamlet pulls out his dagger. In mid-air, Good Hamlet shows up on his left shoulder. “Hold it,” he says.

The dagger stops.

“Wh-wh-what?” Hamlet stutters.

Goodie repeats himself, “Hold it, I said.”

“What do you mean showing up here?” Baddie challenges. “Haven’t you got business elsewhere? Like helping Henry VIII pick a new wife?”

“Nope,” Goodie says. “Got no place I’d rather be than here. Now, Hamlet, put that thing away. You’re going to poke your eye out.”

Baddie puts his hand above Hamlet’s hand on the dagger. “Hold on, fellow. You’re stuck here in limbo already. Why not go whole hog?”

Goodie grabs the dagger. “Hamlet, you know that is a mortal sin.”

Hamlet grabs the blade and cuts his hand. He releases the blade.

“Now see what you’ve gone and done,” Baddie says. “That’s not nice.”

“What’s this got to do with nice?” Goodie retorts. “What we are talking about is his immortal soul.”

Horatio, Marcellus and Barnardo appear onstage. Poof! Goodie and Baddie are out of there.

Horatio calls out, “Yo.”

Marcellus and Barnardo do a “Yo” as well.

Hamlet says, “Yo yourself.” He embraces his friend, Horatio, then says, “It’s been a month of Sundays.”

“Longer,” Horatio says.

“Whazup?” Hamlet wants to know.

“We have news,” Marcellus says.

“We saw your daddy,” Horatio says.

“Or a reasonable facsimile,” Barnardo says.

“I’ve seen him too,” Hamlet says. “In my mind’s eye.”

“You still on that happy juice?” Marcellus asks.

“No,” Hamlet says. “I haven’t been able to find a dealer here. My daddy drove them out of the kingdom when he was king. He wasn’t happy that so many Danes were happy. Thanks to the happy juice.”

Horatio says, “He was a ghost as large as the Eiffel Tower.”

“You saw my daddy? You saw his spirit?” Hamlet’s eyes light up with hope.

“The apparition we saw wore your father’s armor and his visor.”

Hamlet can’t believe his ears.

Marcellus continues, “We have seen it for the last three nights.”

“And,” Horatio says, “I saw it tonight.”

Right then and there, Hamlet decides his soliloquy has an answer to his “To go or not to go, that is the question. Whether ’tis nobler to get the heck out of Dodge. Or lie up my ying-yang for forsoothing a bit too much of the hooch at Phi Beta House.” He definitely has to get out of town. Fast.

Before his father found out that he had been kicked out of Martin Luther U.

Don’t Disappoint Your Mom

The Thank You Note

Dear Mr. Hamsun,

I want to thank you for that F you gave me for American history this semester. I’m writing this at the behest of my dad. He believes that you were very courageous in giving me that grade since my dad is on the Board of Trustees and he could fire your rear. However, Dad believes that you should learn from your mistake. You will have to take a cut in salary for the next semester.

David

Response to the Thank You Note

Dear David,

Thank you for the nice note. Your dad is right. One only learns from one’s mistakes. When I was in prison for embezzling at Enron, I had a lot of time to think. Thinking it over I came to realize that I had been one selfish bastard and I needed to change. My days at Enron had been go-go-go, party-party-party, and now here I was doing time. By the way, I had a lovely cellmate. He was in for bank robbery—and he taught me all sorts of tricks of the trade. Which I intend to share with my class next term. It’s called practical steps to success in business. Hope you’ll attend.

As I lay there on my bunk night after night, I realized I had wronged a lot of people: my former co-workers, my girlfriend Gretchen (I loved calling her Gretchen, not Gretch as her brother often insisted), but most of all I disappointed and harmed my mom. It brought little tears to my eyes. I had been a wuss. Would Mom ever forgive me? You can let everyone else down, but please don’t let your mom down.

Anyway I learned from my mistakes and here I am teaching little runts like yourself the ABC’s of life. So get a life, come to my class next term and learn a trade.

Mr. Hamsun

I see Live People

I See Live People. It’s a gift I have. Seems like I have had it always.

I first realized I had this gift when I was a baby. It made me want to cry. I didn’t cry. There were way too many other things to cry about. Like my dirty nappy, that pacifier I couldn’t reach, or my three a.m. feeding. I didn’t want to wear out my welcome so early so I didn’t cry. But those big heads, I mean they were enormous. They looked down at me with those big, enormous huge heads.

They spoke another language. If I had been a Pentecostal, I might have thought they were speaking in tongues. I mean, how do you translate this? Goo-goo ga-ga-gaa. I still haven’t figured that out. All I know is that these big headed aliens from another planet had invaded Babyworld and they were very scary.

In a moment of baby brilliance, the idea hit me. These were Live People. If I smiled and giggled, they would make nice and give me anything I wanted.

As a kid, I played hide ‘n’ go seek with my friends. I was so good at finding Live People my friends never let me be the seeker. It’s cause I see Live People.

It’s like that now as an adult. No one will play with me. I am very good at Trivial Pursuit and Jeopardy. If you play Risk with me, you are taking a real chance. It isn’t my fault I always win. You see, I see Live People.

There are times I wish I could turn the gift off. Like Commander Deanna Troi, I don’t always have that choice. It was tough to be a Betazoid just like it is tough to be a human who can see Live People.

Sometimes it’s downright embarrassing. Those are times these people are making downright fools of themselves. As Forrest Gump’s Mama used to say, “Stupid is as stupid does.” ‘Cause I see Live People.

There are the times they can be so-o-o annoying. I am sitting at a red light. It turns green. The person behind me starts honking his horn. You’d think these Live People would have more patience. But they are alive. And I see them.

There are the nice times too. Couples walking hand-in-hand in the park. A man walking his dog and kneeling to give the dog a hug. The sound of a kid’s voice when she tells her mom she got an A in school. I love it then when I see Live People.

It sounds like I am complaining. I am not. I am simply sharing something I have wanted to share for a long time. You see, I see Live People.

Do you see Live People?

Auditioning

Here’s something to think about. And it’s a big something too. From the moment you’re born, you’re auditioning. Sure, your mommy’s going to love you. But think about this. By the time you come out of her, you’ve been auditioning for nine months. After a lot of interviews, wallah,you’ve got the job. You’re her kid. I didn’t say her darling. That’s a whole other thing. That role may go to your older brother or sister. They may be the cute one. You may have the role of pain-in-the-butt. Remember the Smothers Brothers. Dick got all the goodies, Tom got the chicken.

What about Dad? you ask. You know we’re in deep doo-doo if he says, “I’ve got five others just like him. So you’re going to have to do some cooing and goo-goo-ga-ga-ing for him big time. Smile when he comes into the room. Always smile. Smiling works every time.  Adults like smiling. Smiling will get you into Harvard. And don’t tell me your poop don’t stink. It always stinks.

You know you’re in for bad things if mom or pop turns to big sis and says, “Go change your brother’s diaper. “ The audition with big sis ain’t going to go well. You pooped. You do not want to do that at an audition. It just ain’t cool. Later in life, she will get even. When you’ve crashed your dad’s car and you want help, she won’t be there. Because she had to clean up your poop. Get on big sis’s good side and it will serve you in good stead.

Next thing you know you’re walking and getting into everything. You know things are going well if mommy says, “Ain’t that the cutest thing.” It’s a statement, not a question. But be careful. If dad comes in and says, “Hey, he just broke my favorite coffee mug. You know the one I won at the annual bean-eating contest. The one I got for beating the crap out of Marvin,” You know where that’s going to go. And he won’t be saying “crap” either. He’ll be saying that other word that stands in for poop. So don’t break any of Dad’s stuff. He’ll appreciate it and remember what a good kid you were.

Oh, you don’t think he’ll remember. You know how you’ll know. When he hands you the keys to that really cool car for your sixteenth birthday and says, “You’ve earned it.” There’s this big smile on his face. It ain’t because your grades are good. You’re a C student at best. No, it’s because you did auditioning well. Your poop didn’t stink that bad. You didn’t break any of his precious things.

And don’t get me started about table manners. You are going to have to eat that baby crap for a while. So don’t make faces. They don’t like faces, unless they’re cute faces.

Then there’s that first class in school. You’re auditioning there as well. You can either audition for the teacher or for your fellow students. Go for your fellow students. Your teacher is only going to be around for one year. Your fellow students are going to be around for, like FOREVER. So you had better impress them big time or your life is going to be a living h-e-double-hockey-sticks. Look across the room and find the kid you like the least. Immediately walk over and hit him in the face. He’s going to say, “What’d you want to do that for?” Best say nothing. You’ve impressed the other prisoners. I mean, kids.

This kid you just socked will turn out to be your best friend for life. For life, man. You can’t ask for a better friend than that. He’ll watch your back when you steal that car. He’ll be there for you when you need a sponsor in AA. You  will be his Eddie Haskel and he’ll be your Wally Cleaver. Can’t do better than that, can you? On top of all the trouble he’ll keep you out of, his mom will be June Cleaver. And, man, June Cleaver could cook. Not like your mom.

So that’s your life. You will be auditioning for role after role. For that first date. For that college you really really want to get into. For that person you will eventually marry. For that boss whose position you want. For that bank that will give you a mortgage and a credit card. For those two-point-seven kids that will make you a real American family. For those neighbors who always keep their house in tip-top shape and their lawn well manicured. (You keep wondering how he can afford the maintenance and the really cool stuff. Embezzling would be my guess.) For that divorce lawyer you will need. And you will want a good one. Your spouse is about to take everything. For that coffin you will have to fit into.

And last, but not least. There’s God. That audition is going to be real scary.

Cost Overruns at the Tower of Babel

OR EVERY RULER HAS A BAD DAY.

“When do you think it will be done?” Nimrod asked. He always asked the hard questions.

“I don’t know, sir. We’re already over budget.” Furg, the Builder, said.

“Over budget?” Nimrod was not happy. “How can we be over budget?”

“We just are. After all, we’re having to ship brick all the way from Egypt. The Egyptians raised their prices.”

“Why can’t we use good Babylonian brick?” Nimrod was no builder. He was a warrior, good at chopping off Sumerian heads in battle. Not at this budgeting kind of thing. Wasn’t it about time he went and started a ruckus with Ur? The Urians had been smart mouthing him lately.

“Babylonian brick just won’t hold in place. Egyptian brick will.”

“I sure hate to go back to Congress and tell them I need more money. They weren’t happy about that chariot cost overrun. How was I to know the Philistines upped their prices?”

“Yes, sir. So do you still want the Glorious and Magnificent Nimrod Wing or not?”

“Darn tooting, I do. And in pure gold trim too. Now I have other business to attend to.” Nimrod was thinking that he was already late for his tete-a-tete with Belatsunat. His wrist sundial said a freckle passed a hair already. She was going to charge him double. It sure was hard being a conqueror.

As Nimrod was turning to leave, Furg threw him another fastball. “There’s just one more thing.”

Nimrod wanted to say, “What now?” But he didn’t. After all, he was a kind ruler. At least, he liked to think of himself that way. He said, “Yes?”

“What do we do about the quicksand?”